concert memoirs pt. 10 – the replacements

The Replacements w/Laughing Stock
7/1/85 First Avenue w/John Ticket Price: Unknown

“Someone put ice in his tea.” That’s the reason Paul Westerberg gave for why The Replacements were there that night and not Robyn Hitchcock. Robyn Hitchcock was scheduled, but he didn’t play. We weren’t too upset, though, because it gave us another chance to see the legends.

You will recall the first time John and I saw The Replacements (First Avenue 9/5/84) John had some minor panic issues. This time John and I stood up front and caught the entire show. No panic attacks.

Allow me to digress for a moment, the opening act, Laughing Stock, was a fairly decent local band. They had a little of the REM influence, but a lot of bands did in those days. Laughing Stock was lead by a fellow named Jim Walsh. Jim Walsh has gone on to be a music (among other things) journalist.

He has recently published ‘The Replacements: All over but the shouting – an oral history’. Jim put together various people’s recollections about one of the most important bands in rock history. It’s a good read, especially for fans and those interested in that era of the Minneapolis music scene.

One point made over and over in the book was that the band could be phenomenal in concert. However, they could just as likely be shit. Bob Mould (Husker Du, Sugar) said that if you saw them ten times, you might see one good show and nine lousy ones.

Well, I can’t say this was a great show, but it wasn’t awful. They weren’t falling down drunk or anything, but they took their time between songs. They appeared to not have a playlist, so they would pause after each song and look at each other trying to figure out what to play next. This didn’t help build any momentum through the show.

It also lead to another problem. Several members of the audience took those pauses as their cue to call out for their favorite ‘Mats tune. One doofus standing right next to me kept calling out, “Go!” It’s possible that he was admonishing the band for their lackadaisical pacing, but I’m fairly certain he meant the song from their second release, ‘Stink’.

One humorous moment that I recall from that show occurred when some audience member called out, “Tommy’s got a boner!” (As you know, the actual song title is ‘Gary’s Got A Boner’ from their album ‘Let It Be’.) Paul heard the shout, gave us a “He does?” look, and walked over to Tommy Stinson. He moved Tommy’s bass away to get a better look. I couldn’t tell if Tommy had a boner or not and Paul didn’t say.

So, John and I saw The Replacements twice. We didn’t get stellar shows, but they weren’t awful. I think the reason we didn’t go see them after the second time was that we weren’t as impressed with their shows as we were with their albums. They were an important band and I’m glad I saw them.

YouTube has a concert they did in the 7th Street Entry on 9/5/81. That’s exactly three years before John and I first saw them play. That concert shows them at their best. They go a little out of tune, but that was their style. Here’s the link to the first part of the 16 part series http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImUwS4IoZhc Check it out. It’s great.

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